A Voyage to Arcturus HTML version

Chapter 4. The Voice
It was by this time past three o'clock. Feeling hungry, for they had eaten nothing since
early morning, Maskull went downstairs to forage, but without much hope of finding
anything in the shape of food. In a safe in the kitchen he discovered a bag of mouldy
oatmeal, which was untouchable, a quantity of quite good tea in an airtight caddy, and an
unopened can of ox tongue. Best of all, in the dining - room cupboard he came across an
uncorked bottle of first - class Scotch whisky. He at once made preparations for a scratch
A pump in the yard ran clear after a good deal of hard working at it, and he washed out
and filled the antique kettle. For firewood, one of the kitchen chairs was broken up with a
chopper. The light, dusty wood made a good blaze in the grate, the kettle was boiled, and
cups were procured and washed. Ten minutes later the friends were dining in the library.
Nightspore ate and drank little, but Maskull sat down with good appetite. There being no
milk, whisky took the place of it; the nearly black tea was mixed with an equal quantity
of the spirit. Of this concoction Maskull drank cup after cup, and long after the tongue
had disappeared he was still imbibing.
Nightspore looked at him queerly. "Do you intend to finish the bottle before Krag
"Krag won't want any, and one must do something. I feel restless."
"Let us take a look at the country."
The cup, which was on its way to Maskull's lips, remained poised in the air. "Have you
anything in view, Nightspore?"
"Let us walk out to the Gap of Sorgie."
"What's that?"
"A showplace," answered Nightspore, biting his lip.
Maskull finished off the cup, and rose to his feet. "Walking is better than soaking at any
time, and especially on a day like this.... How far is it?'
"Three or four miles each way."
"You probably mean something," said Maskull, "for I'm beginning to regard you as a
second Krag. But if so, so much the better. I am growing nervous, and need incidents."